‘Unseen Waterloo’ – Sam Faulkner

12th June – 31st August, Somerset House

The Battle of Waterloo took place on the 18th of June 1815 in what was then The United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and lasted for nine hours. The result was not just the defeat of Napoleon but a signifier for countries standing up in their unity against oppressive regimes. Now it is celebrated both for its historic value and meaning. It is these celebrations that drove Sam Faulkner to the scene of the battle over some years to make images of those who chose to re-enact the scene, with painstaking accuracy to detail, using a pop-up studio next to the field of battle.

The result creates strikingly intimate photographs with a level of detail which allows you to inspect the men of the regalia down to the drummer boys. It seems no man is forgotten within this body of work spanning sixty seven individual portraits. The walls of the terrace rooms in Somerset House have been coated in Hainsworth fabric (commonly seen on Redcoats), upon which the images hang suspended on wires as they would had they been painted and hung in the weeks after the battle.

Against this back drop; dark sprayed solid ash tray frames house the photographs, with natural grain of the wood still visible after the paint is applied, especially when viewing from the side.

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